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Deasy Wants to Revamp Local School Funding Formula

Hillel Aron | May 24, 2013

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No other issue will have a greater effect on LAUSD than how much money it receives from the state of California – and how that money is distributed to schools.

All California school districts are set for a funding boost, thanks to the 2012 passage of the Proposition 30 ballot initiative and an improving economy.

Governor Jerry Brown’s funding formula would give extra money to districts with a higher concentration of low-income students and English language learners.

But LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy also wants to propose giving more money out of the district’s budget to schools in low-income schools with more hard to educate students — mirroring Brown’s proposal.

“Right now we distribute money per pupil,” said Deasy, referring to the method of allocating most funds by school enrollment. “We could potentially give out money per type of kid. I will certainly be proposing that.”

Like Brown’s formula, Deasy’s proposal would likely generate both supporters and detractors based on how it affects schools’ bottom lines.

Deasy has said that his budget for the next school year is already predicated on LAUSD receiving an additional $188 million via Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula getting approved by the Sacramento legislature.

“We need to be very active as we get to that process,” Deasy told LA School Report.

Much like Brown’s formula, Deasy’s proposal would increase the “base income” given to all district schools, and then give “additional support with schools with greatest need.”

That includes schools with a high concentration of “English language learners, students in foster care and students who live in circumstances of poverty.”
Deasy’s plan would only be possible if Governor Brown’s plan is approved, which not only would give districts like LAUSD an enormous windfall (by giving districts a “supplemental grant” and a “concentration grant”), but allow all school districts far greater autonomy in how they spend money handed down to them by the state.
Brown’s plan recently received support from the powerful California Teachers Association. Its president, Dean Vogel, praised the concentration grant aspect of the plan in particular: “The concentration grant is the piece of the formula that basically says we’re going to actually put our money where our mouth is. You can’t say year in and year out that it costs more to educate kids in poverty without giving them the money.”
The State Senate has released their own version of the plan that excludes the concentration grant. And the State Assembly recently released its own version which, according to Ed Source, “would keep Brown’s three components, but percentages for the supplemental and concentration grants would be smaller.”
Now the three parties must come together and hammer out some kind of a compromise. Superintendent Deasy suggested that LAUSD would benefit no matter what the particulars of the local control formula ends up being.
“The state has passed Prop. 30,” he said. “Something is gonna happen with those new funds.”
At the next Board meeting, Board member Tamar Galatzan will introduce a resolution to direct Deasy to “create a series of funding formula options to consider” that would give more money to schools in need, according to Deasy.
“This is just the beginning of a public policy discussion in LAUSD,” he said.

Previous posts: Brown Soft-Sells School Formula in LAComing Showdown Between Programs & HiringDeasy & Allies Prevail at May Board MeetingUTLA, LAUSD Prep for Prop. 30 Budget Battle

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